Camp Nazareth Cabin Expansion
Project Update

JOHNSTOWN, PA [Diocesan Chancery] - With the Blessing of His Grace, Bishop Gregory  and the approval of the Diocesan Board of Trustees, the Camp Nazareth cabins and other infrastructure are undergoing a significant upgrade in the off-season.  The project is well underway and is scheduled to be completed by March 1, 2016, in time for the 2016 Summer Camping Season. Those who received a parish visit from His Grace, Bishop Gregory since last year at this time, or who had a family member attend Camp this past summer, undoubtedly have heard about the project, but may still not know all its details.  The project is extensive and when it is completed it will be a major improvement to the quality of the camping experience for our children.

 The major upgrades to the cabins include:

  1. 3 private showers with changing rooms in each cabin.  That is 6 for each duplex cabin.
  2. A large furnished common room.  This common room is a shared area in the duplex cabins.
  3. 1 additional bathroom in each cabin.
  4. A covered front porch.  Shared for a duplex cabin.
  5. Laundry facilities (washer and dryer).
  6. Climate Control (HVAC).
  7. All T1-11 indoor wall panels in the existing cabins are being replaced with drywall (or they may be painted), and all insulation in the existing cabins will be replaced/upgraded if necessary.

These are the major upgrades for each cabin, but along with these the cabins will receive all new electric and water lines, with a significant upgrade in the electric service to provide for any possible future expansion (new cabin or cabins).  In addition, while the present construction is taking place, the infrastructure (electric and plumbing) is being laid for other potential facility expansion in the future.

There are other upgrades to the Camp that go hand-in-hand with the Cabin Expansion.  A new water well is being drilled to provide for the increased demand produced by the additional showers.  The well will supply the cabins and any future expansion of the camp facilities.  To produce the amount of water required, the well is being drilled to a depth of 340 feet, fully 230 feet deeper than the existing water well.  The existing water well will still be used to supply everything but the cabins with water.  Along with the new water well, a new water treatment facility is required, which will be housed in the extension that is being put on the Bathhouse.  This is a significant part of the project considering the well must be drilled, water must be pumped from it to the new treatment facility, and from the new treatment facility the water must be pumped to each cabin, and potentially to other facilities which may be built in the future.  There is a 40 foot difference (going up) between where the treatment facility will be housed and where the cabin with highest elevation (Cabins A & B) sits.  That is a significant difference and the pump for the project will be sized to provide the water pressure required “on top of the hill”.

In addition to the new water well, the Septic System at the Camp is being overhauled.  This part of the upgrades to Camp would have taken place whether or not the cabin portion was being done or not.  In that sense, it is a separate project, but it is being done at the same time as the Cabin Expansion.  Our beloved Camp is nearly 40 years old and its infrastructure reflects its age.  The new system will support the Cabin Expansion as well as other future expansion of the camp  facilities.

 As a point of reference, the main reasons this project was taken on include: 

  1. Health and Hygiene
  2. Safety
  3. Programming
  4. Quality

 Simply put, the increased number of showers at Camp facilitates better Health and Hygiene for all campers.  Before this project there were (as there had been for 38 years) 8 showers for the campers.  For 150 campers, not to mention counselors, 8 showers is simply not enough for everyone to shower each day, and if campers do get a shower, they needed to use their free-time (some or all of it) waiting in line to do so.  Keeping kids clean is simply a health concern and one that is being addressed by the Camp.  For the same reason, the climate control was put into the cabin expansion plans as the number of campers with mild to severe allergy and asthma issues has increased dramatically in recent years.  Proper ventilation and air quality inside the cabins is a must.  The summers at Camp tend to be very hot and extremely damp – not a good combination for allergy and asthma sufferers.  Again, climate control helps alleviate some of these health concerns.

 Secondly, with the changing times and to provide necessary privacy and protection for our youth,  we will now be able to provide private showers and changing rooms  in each cabin (each changing room and shower will be its own “room”, i.e. behind its own door).  This will allow the camp to provide a greater level of safety and privacy to our campers.

 With the addition of the large furnished common rooms and the front porches, the Camp will have more programming space, especially when it rains.  At present, if it rains at Camp, there is limited space indoors for programming.  The Main Lodge doubles and triples as dining hall, “sports” arena, and speaking venue.  The common rooms and porches will provide additional space for programming as well as areas to gather for talks with His Grace, with our Diocesan Priests and with cabin counselors.  At present, for any talks in the cabin the bunk rooms and the floors are used.  The new front porches, as well, will provide an additional gathering area.  They tend to be gathering areas for talks, relaxation and fellowship – the things we try to encourage at Camp.

Finally, we recognize that today’s expectations of camping differ quite significantly from previous generations.  The upgrades to the cabins are part of the recognition of this simple truth.  The concept of “roughing it” as the expression goes, is quite different to parents and children today than it was to parents and children when the Camp was constructed.  The expansion of the cabins and the additional features which have been outlined will help the quality of what the Camp delivers to its users without taking camping out of Camp.  For example, when the campers finally do fall asleep, they need a quality sleep to help them function the next day.  Camp days are action-packed, fun-filled and long.  At days end, campers need good sleep to help them engage the next day rested and refreshed.  The features of the cabin expansion project will help this happen. However, the program will remains just as rigorous. Camp remains camping, but the quality of what the Camp delivers in its facilities will be increased.

Regarding the progress of the Cabin Expansion Project, as of day 26 (11/18)  the following has been  accomplished thus far:

  1. “Roads” were made to access all cabins with equipment
  2. All foundations (for the 7 structures) will be completed within a day:  Bathhouse expansion and 6 cabins.
  3. At present 4 of the 6 structures are ready to have their floors poured.  The other 2 will be ready next week.  That means:
    1. All foundations were dug, footers and block work were completed, plumbing was dug and installed, foundations were backfilled, inspections were completed, etc.
    2. The difficult task of locating and marking all water, storm-water, sewer and electric lines is complete.
  4. All floors will be poured at the same time.
  5. Plumbing is in every cabin (drains, sewer, etc.). 
  6. All inspections have been approved – foundation, footers, pressure tests, etc.
  7. Water well drillers completed the test well.
  8. Well drillers are now drilling the production well.  This should be completed in 3-4 days. 
  9. Orders have been placed for the wood for walls and trusses.  Walls should start being installed within the next week.

Diocesan faithful are encouraged to follow along with the construction progress by viewing photos of the project posted online on the Camp Nazareth and Diocesan websites.  They will continue to be posted on a weekly basis throughout the duration of the project.

As the Camp reaches its fortieth anniversary of operation, His Grace, Bishop Gregory, the staff and administration of Camp Nazareth, and the Diocesan Board of Trustees look forward to the successful completion of this major improvement to the camp facilities.  It is hoped that through the continued generosity of the faithful of the Diocese, other improvements and enhancements of the camp facilities will take place to meet the needs of our Diocesan youth and camp staff.  

We pray that Almighty God, as He always has, will guide, help and protect us throughout the project, and give us the strength necessary to complete this work for His glory.